Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Unfortunately For You, The Line You Crossed Was Real

At last, a little rationality:
The state board that oversees pharmacies voted Tuesday to require Wal-Mart to stock emergency contraception pills at its Massachusetts pharmacies, a spokeswoman at the Department of Public Health said.

The unanimous decision by the Massachusetts Board of Pharmacy comes two weeks after three women sued Wal-Mart in state court for failing to carry the so called "morning after" pill in its Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores in the state.

The women argue state policy requires pharmacies to provide all "commonly prescribed medicines."
Again and again and again: This is not the decision of the religious. This is not the decision of the husband/boyfriend/whatever. This is not the decision of the corporation. It damn sure isn't the decision of the pharmacist. It is the decision of the woman, made with the advice of her doctor. End of story. It may take these one-at-a-time battles, but the war for privacy and women's health must be fought and won.

You, You Sonofabitch, You! You're Supposed To STAND For Somethin'! You're Supposed To Protect People!

Nice to know legal scholarship ended in 1787:
People who believe the Constitution would break if it didn't change with society are "idiots," U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says.

In a speech Monday sponsored by the conservative Federalist Society, Scalia defended his long-held belief in sticking to the plain text of the Constitution "as it was originally written and intended."

"Scalia does have a philosophy, it's called originalism," he said. "That's what prevents him from doing the things he would like to do," he told more than 100 politicians and lawyers from this U.S. island territory.

According to his judicial philosophy, he said, there can be no room for personal, political or religious beliefs.

Scalia criticized those who believe in what he called the "living Constitution."

"That's the argument of flexibility and it goes something like this: The Constitution is over 200 years old and societies change. It has to change with society, like a living organism, or it will become brittle and break."

"But you would have to be an idiot to believe that," Scalia said. "The Constitution is not a living organism, it is a legal document. It says something and doesn't say other things."

Proponents of the living constitution want matters to be decided "not by the people, but by the justices of the Supreme Court."

"They are not looking for legal flexibility, they are looking for rigidity, whether it's the right to abortion or the right to homosexual activity, they want that right to be embedded from coast to coast and to be unchangeable," he said.
Y'know, there was a time I could've sworn that, no matter what my opinion of his decisions, I at least agreed with the premise that Justice Scalia was a smart man. There goes that.

First: He's got the third-person thing going, as if he was a pro wrestler or Bob Dole.

Second: As someone in the Yahoo News Message Boards pointed out, the Constitution may be a legal document, but it's an amendable legal document. You may remember some of those Amendments -- freeing the slaves, giving women the right to vote, and such. Unless, of course, Justice Scalia would like to back to those times, in which case he should probably warn Justice Snerd. Strictly out of fairness, of course.

Third: Let's look at that "flexibility/rigidity" argument. What he's basically saying is that, under the guise of wanting to adapt the laws of the land for the times we live in, the "living Constitution" supporters actually want the Supreme Court, not the people, to have certain laws set in stone so that they cannot be changed. And this is a bad thing.

There's something to that, y'know. For instance, in a post-9/11 world, it just makes more sense for the vice-president to have the right to shoot someone in the face. In a less satirical vein, who needs popular voting to determine the presidency? Oh, wait, that was done by the Supreme Court, wasn't it, Antonin? And you voted in the majority on that case.


Try this, Justice Scalia: One of the things the Constitution is supposed to prevent is "the tyranny of the majority". That's the idea that popular support for something shouldn't be allowed to oppress those who don't subscribe to it. And, in particular, it's meant to apply to things like the issues you invoke -- abortions, gay marriage -- issues where reasonable people disagree as to whether or not what's being discussed is evil.

You may remember the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." So that, for instance, people who don't believe in a particular god don't have to endure that god's faith being promoted ahead of other faiths, or no faith, in public schools.

Now try another one -- Amendment Nine: "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

That means that, if the Constitution doesn't specifically grant a particular right, and it doesn't specifically outlaw that right, it's probably okay.

It may have occurred to you, Justice Scalia -- or perhaps it hasn't -- that virtually all of the most hotly contested rights cases these days are, effectively, issues of personal morality, where one group of people is trying to -- let's see, how did you put it above? "They are not looking for legal flexibility, they are looking for rigidity, whether it's the right to abortion or the right to homosexual activity, they want that right to be embedded from coast to coast and to be unchangeable."

Only you're siding with the ones who want the particular rigidity to be outlawing the right to abortion and the right to homosexual activity.

How then, are you different from your political opponents? As far as I can tell, in only two ways.

One, you want an outcome that limits people's rights. Hell of a thing, Mister Of The People By The People For The People.

Two, you say publicly that "there can be no room for personal, political or religious beliefs". But your judgements, indeed your entire political philosophy, shows otherwise.

Which makes you a stinking hypocrite.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Creatures Of Night, Brought To Light

A little literary activism today.

Even if you don't think you know the works of
Peter S. Beagle, you absolutely know of two. He wrote the screenplay for Ralph Bakshi's animated The Lord of the Rings, Part 1. And if you don't think that has some heft behind it, that was the movie that got Peter Jackson to read the frickin' books in the first place, and the rest is cinematic history.

Mr. Beagle was paid five thousand dollars for his script. That's all. No royalties, no nothin'.

You also might've seen a little classic known as The Last Unicorn. Adapted by Mr. Beagle from his book, voice cast from hell, beautiful Rankin-Bass animation, fan-frickin'-tastic piece of work. It's sold hundreds of thousands of copies on DVD.

For which Mr. Beagle has not been paid at all. No royalties, no nothin'.

Now, it's true that he's a soft-spoken, gentlemanly Good Guy. And it's also true that there are those who would happily stomp on Good Guys if it affords them profit.

That's where we come in.

For more information, and ways that you can help, visit Conlan Press. And thanks.

Friday, February 03, 2006

"What About All That Talk About Screwing Up Future Events, The Space-Time Continuum?" "Well, I Figured -- What The Hell."

The fuck:
A federal judge on Friday set former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby's trial date in the
CIA leak case for January 2007, two months after the midterm congressional elections.

The trial for Libby, who faces perjury and obstruction of justice charges, will begin with jury selection Jan. 8, said U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton. The judge said he had hoped to start the trial in September but one of Libby's lawyers had a scheduling conflict that made that impractical.
Because, goodness knows, doing it before the elections might be "impractical" for an administration and political party trying not to look like the criminals they are.

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